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Plant Access Grows Its Competitive Edge: Industry-First RFID Case Study

Posted March 17, 2015

Intermec CN70 RFID RFID ReadersPlant Access is a specialized logistics services provider, catering for the green life industry. Plant Access provides a highly efficient service utilizing a unique, innovative steel stillage design used to pick, crossdock and deliver nursery plants to Bunnings Warehouse locations across Victoria and South Australia.

Weeding out manual processes

Plant Access manages the orders and provides the steel stillages that are used to transport plant products from over 67 nursery supplier sites to Bunnings stores across Victoria and South Australia. Shipments from different suppliers are consolidated at the Plant Access cross dock facility before orders are transported to Bunnings locations and plants are sold to consumers direct out of the steel stillages.

At any one time, Plant Access has thousands of re-usable steel stillages spread across hundreds of sites throughout the supply chain. Knowing the location of all these stillages and the status of an order was a serious challenge for Plant Access under a legacy paper-based manual ordering system.

A new automated tracking system was necessary to capture real-time data from nursery supplier sites, the Plant Access cross dock logistics facility and the Bunnings stores, in order for Plant Access to have an accurate and instant visibility of their stillage assets and the products they were transporting.

Building a flourishing future with RFID

“Plant Access commissioned us to design and pilot an automated system to track the tailor-made steel stillages, which would allow real time visibility of customer orders across the supply chain,” said Geoffrey Ramadan, Managing Director, Unique Micro Design (UMD). “Following successful testing of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility RFID technology, Plant Access decided to roll out a pilot automated track and trace system supported by our cloud network enabling real time information to be accessible from multiple locations.”

Honeywell IT75 ruggedised metal-mount UHF RFID tags are now attached to the specially designed stillages so when scanned and processed at key intervals in the supply chain they feed real time track and trace information to the Plant Access cloud. The pilot system allows supplier nurseries to pull down orders from the Plant Access cloud for data capture by workers on RFID enabled Honeywell CN70 rugged mobile terminals. The handheld computers are used in the nursery to pick and pack orders, scan the RFID tags on packed stillages and finally register the order as packed on the cloud so Plant Access is notified that the order is ready for pick-up and transportation.

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